Artifacts resembling VT and VF

Artifacts resembling VT and VF

Artifacts resembling ventricular tachycardia
Artifacts resembling ventricular tachycardia

Artifacts in an ECG (electrocardiogram) can mimic various pathological conditions. In V1, multiple small artefacts almost totally obscure the small QRS complexes so that at one look it mimics ventricular fibrillation (VF). Close scrutiny with comparison with other leads enables recognition of QRS complexes within the artifacts by their timing with other QRS complexes simultaneously recorded in other leads (V3), where the amplitude of the artifacts are much lower than that of the QRS complexes. In V2, certain artifacts resemble a wide QRS tachycardia. The fact that it has not affected the regular QRS rhythm in other simultaneously recorded leads indicate that these are artifacts and not a run of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia. This also illustrates the advantage of monitoring multiple leads simultaneously while observing for arrhythmias. In this case a single lead V1 monitoring could lead to initiation of CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if one is not vigilant enough to follow the regular pre-CPR sequence for identification of cardiac arrest before initiating chest compressions. Similarly monitoring of V2 could lead to an ‘inappropriate shock’ external DC (direct current) shock being delivered.

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